India overcame a spirited resistance from Japan by winning the semi-final clash 2-1 against Japan in the Men’s Hockey Asian Champions Trophy clash in Muscat on Saturday. With this win, India will now play Pakistan for the fourth consecutive time in the final of the tournament.
India had thrashed Japan, the Asian Games gold medal winners, 9-0 in the league stages but they had to face some stiff resistance. Goals from Gurjant Singh (19'), Chinglensana (44') and Dilpreet Singh (55') boosted India but Japan were kept in the hunt with goals from Hirotaka Wakaru (22') and Hirotaka Zendana (56').
The Indian team missed some chances to extend their advantage and they had to face some tough moments in the final five minutes of the contest. However, India held on and they reached the final.
On the other hand, Pakistan had to face some tough moments against Malaysia. In regulation time, both sides ended up tied 4-4 and it took a penalty shoot-out to decide the result. Malaysia, who had defeated India in the Asian Games semi-final through a thrilling sudden death shoot-out, could not repeat their heroics this time and they lost the match 1-3 on penalties.
The Indian team have been dominant in this tournament, winning four out of five encounters with their only draw coming against Malaysia. In the league encounter against Pakistan, they won 3-1 thanks to goals from Manpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh.
India and Pakistan have contested all finals of the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament, with India holding a 2-1 advantage. Pakistan won the 2012 and 2013 editions while India emerged victorious in the first edition in 2011 and in 2016.
The match will take place at 10:40 PM IST, right after the third place encounter between Japan and Malaysia.